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Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, KD. It’s great to be here and to share about my new release with you and your readers. Veronica COURTESAN is inspired by the life of Veronica Franco, one of the most sought-after courtesans in 16th Century Venice, who was also a poet and writer. She was well-educated at a time in history when most women were barely literate. Yes, she was a self-promoter, but she also loved deeply and was loved in return. In the following excerpt, Veronica is entertaining two of her patrons, aiming to be invited to a literary salon. There she meets Domenico Venier, who becomes her editor. Even in the 16th Century, having an editor was vital to a writer. I don’t know how I would manage without mine, the fantastic John Hudspith, who also worked with me on my time-slip historical romance Lady of Asolo.
We make polite conversation throughout the meal, but, as soon as we progress to the portego for after-dinner drinks and entertainment, I get right to the point. ‘My lord, Signor Ludovico tells me you frequent a literary salon.’
‘That’s right. Domenico Venier’s. ’Tis the most important gathering place for intellectuals and writers in Venice.’
‘Are courtesans welcome there?’
‘I’ve noticed a few. Why?’
I’m seized by a sudden shyness. Will he think I’m being forward? Thankfully, Ludovico answers for me.
‘I’ve told you about Veronica’s abilities. Don’t tease the girl!’
The count laughs and drains his glass. I reach across to refill it, my gaze meeting his. ‘I write poetry. My greatest desire
is to learn from others and improve my own work.’
‘Will you read me one of your poems?’
‘With pleasure.’ I go to my desk and return with the verse on which I’m now working.
‘If you are overcome by love for me,
Take me in far sweeter fashion
Than anything my quill can describe.
Your love can be the steadfast knot that pulls me towards you,
Joined to you more tightly than a nail in hard wood;
Your love can make you master of my life,
Show me the love I’ve asked for from you,
And you’ll then enjoy my sweetness to the full.’
‘Very good!’ Andrew Tron rises from his chair and bows. ‘You have talent, Signora Veronica. I shall be delighted to introduce you to Venier. Pray tell me, in what far sweeter fashion can a man take you than your quill can describe?’
I laugh. ‘Ah, that’s something I have yet to discover – which is why my quill cannot describe it.’
Ludovico, who has been watching us up until now, his lips twitching with mirth, gets up from his chair and goes to close the door. ‘Shall we try and give this lady the sweetness she desires?’
My jaw drops. The count’s blue eyes look into mine. He inclines his head and gives a lopsided grin. Intrigued, I glance from one to the other.
Ludovico unbuttons my skirt. Under it, I’m wearing my breeches. He cups my buttocks, and wetness floods me. ‘What say you?’
I pretend to consider, although I know the answer already. ‘I say, yes.’
I watch him watching us, imagining how he would take me.
I send him the message with my eyes. This is who I am. I am Veronica Franco. I am a COURTESAN.
I court the cultural elite for fame and fortune, giving my body to many. And I’m good. So very good. After all, I was taught by my mother, and mother always knows best.
How else to please the future King of France than with the imaginative use of Murano glass? How else to fulfil the desires of all yet keep my sense of self-worth?
But when disaster strikes and my life begins to unravel, I’ll have to ask myself one question: Is it too late to give my
heart to just one man?
Set in Venice 16th Century.
Advisory: sensuously erotic. 18+
Amazon Kindle: http://viewbook.at/Veronica_FC1